Are you frequently sad, without hope, or feeling low? Do you find yourself losing interest in recreation, family life, sex or day to day activities? Have you found yourself responding to minor issues with bouts of anger and frustration? If so, you should consider whether you are suffering from clinical depression.

It's normal to feel depressed from time to time, especially after upsetting events, but if you feel sad most of the day for more than two weeks, then it is likely that you are suffering from major depressive disorder. Other important symptoms include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite, resulting in losing or gaining weight
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Help is available

Depression is a serious disorder and is not something you can 'shrug off' or 'grow out of'. It also very common: nearly 7% of Americans had a serious depressive episode in 2016. If depression is untreated it can have serious consequences, including family breakdown, loss of career and even hospitalization. The good news, however, is that effective treatment is available.

The two main ways of treating depression are antidepressants and psychotherapy. Lifestyle interventions and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are also sometimes used as a part of a complete treatment plan. If you are suffering from symptoms of depression, the first step is to schedule an appointment with a medical professional. It may be that your depression is a result of an underlying medical disorder or a side effect of the medication you are taking. Depression can also be the result of pregnancy, drug or alcohol abuse, or another mental illness, such as bipolar disorder. Following a diagnosis, you and your doctor can discuss the most effective treatment path.

The benefits of psychotherapy

Talk therapy may seem like a slow, difficult option compared to antidepressant medication. However, it has many advantages. Antidepressants often have unpleasant side effects and are less effective with milder forms of depression.

According to a review of studies by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "Cognitive behavioral therapy works as well as antidepressants to improve depression symptoms," and other forms of therapy "might also work as well as antidepressants, but more research is needed to know for sure."

In more severe cases of depression where antidepressants are recommended, it is still best to pair them psychotherapy. Antidepressants provide relief from misery, but talk therapy may be more effective over the long term. Psychotherapy can also help you rebuild your life as you recover from depression. When you plagued by negative feelings, you act in a way that is self-destructive and damages your relationships. Therapy helps you approach life in a new, more effective way and gives you the tools you need for long-term happiness.

Learn more

Contact one of our therapists to learn more about how they can help, or ask about online therapy.

Click here to connect with a therapist that can help you with depression.

Depression Grief and Loss - Information and Articles Lonely in the city